Petite Sirah – Syrah – Zinfandel is a bold red blend pioneered in California. The state's favorite grape, Zinfandel (Primitivo), is blended with the Rhone’s Syrah (Shiraz) and offspring Petite Sirah (Durif) in varying proportions to create this dense, dark, full-bodied blend.
Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel are known for their deep color, high alcohol and high tannins as well as their ageworthiness. The three varieties all thrive in similar climes, making them ideal blending partners. The demand for powerful red-wine blends has risen over the past decade, leading to the emergence of combinations such as this.
Petite Sirah has long been a favored blending grape, albeit as a minor component. Its intense color and tannins can add structure and pigment to wines lacking these. Zinfandel is one of Petite Sirah’s most common blending partners, adding rich and ripe fruit flavors to Petite Sirah’s framework. Syrah, a cépage améliorateur (improver variety), has a long history of blending, as other varieties draw on the grape's deep color, high tannins and floral notes. As Syrah has become increasingly popular in the United States, it has more and more been added to the longer-established Petite Sirah and Zinfandel blend.
Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel blends are full bodied and rich, with dark-fruit flavors such as blackberry, plum and blueberry along with generous amounts of pepper and spice. This blend is frequently aged in oak (particularly American oak), and thus vanilla, cocoa and coconut flavors are also common. Dark chocolate, licorice and leather notes are also evident in aged wines.
Food matches include:
Europe: Venison chop with pan-roasted butternut squash and braised shallots
Americas: Garlicky grass-fed beef fillet
Australasia/Oceania: Spiced kangaroo seared on a spit shawarma-style, with pickled beetroot and chickpea purée